There are many good reasons to read to children. Being read to gets children ready to be independent readers themselves. The development of literacy skills acts as a vehicle for all other learning. Reading to young children is crucial for their language and literacy development. It fosters creativity and imagination, increases vocabulary and offers an important opportunity to practice listening. Reading helps children become familiar with sounds and language and using good quality children’s literature can support children in understanding new ideas, changes or events that are unfamiliar to them and help them to identify the emotions that accompany these. For adults, reading with children provides an opportunity to deepen their relationship and acts as a bonding experience.
There are many books available for families and it can be hard to know which ones to choose. Rhymes, rhythm and repetition help children learn as they are able to join in as they can predict what comes next. These books become a fun learning experience that children will revisit many times with you and on their own.
Below are some favourites for children and adults alike:
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Each Peach Pear Plum brings together all our favourite characters from traditional fairy tales. Use of rhyme and repetition, and clues in the pictures support children to join in the reading. This is available in a soft cover or a hard board book version and encourages children to participate and to find characters such as Tom Thumb and Mother Hubbard hidden in the pictures.
Peepo by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Here’s a little baby, one, two, three, look through the peep-hole, what does he see? The detailed illustrations provide hours of delight as readers (big and small) look through the peep hole and discover familiar friends from other well-known nursery rhymes. Peepo! Has become a classic tale for babies and toddlers alike. The story revolves around a routine baby’s day and each peep hole window gives a hint as to what comes next in the day.
Possum Magic by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas
Grandma Poss has magic for all occasions, but her best trick of all is to make little Hush invisible to keep him safe from snakes. But one day Hush wants to become visible again and Grandma Poss looks and looks, but she can’t find the right magic to turn him back. When Grandma remembers that it has something to do with people food, she and Hush set off in a journey around Australia to find the food which will turn Hush visible again. This is a lovely story for sharing with children that incorporates familiar foods and Australian animals.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
A hungry caterpillar hatches from an egg and eats his way through whatever food he finds, leaving holes in the book as he goes. Children will love following the caterpillar’s journey through meals until he changes into a beautiful butterfly. This book helps explore healthy eating choices, life cycles and numeracy concepts to children. The book uses bright, colourful illustrations and holes in the pages to engage children in the story visually and physically. Eric Carle has won many awards for his children’s stories.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen | Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
We’re going on a bear hunt, and we’re not scared. The repetitive chanting in this book captures young children as they join in the while they follow a group of children journey through a grassy field, mud, a snowstorm and other obstructions and end their journey when the bear is found is a dark cave. The children run home to bed, escaping the bear. Children love the anticipation of finding the bear and the alliteration of the chant.
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
This book, from renowned Aussie author Mem Fox, is illustrated by Judy Horacek. Before we can meet the Green Sheep we are introduced to many of his friends in a rhyming story that is fun to read. The rhyming story enables children to guess at the word that comes next – predicting, hypothesising and testing their theories – these are skills developed through literacy that support children later in learning science, technology, engineering and maths.
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
A humorous story about a kind witch and her cat who end up sharing their broom with many in this magical story about friends and family. The witch and her cat are flying peacefully over forests, rivers and mountains when a strong wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. They are found by a dog, a bird and a frog, who all want to ride the broom. A story about sharing and looking after others.